Toby: Who brought in donuts?
Michael: Somebody got donuts for my birthday!
Toby: Happy birthday!
Michael: You didn’t know it was my birthday.
Toby: I… guess I forgot.
Michael: Well, I guess I forgot to give you a donut [closes box].
Toby: Are you serious?
That was a scene from The Office. It reminds me how sometimes Christians can be killjoys who close the “donut boxes” that God meant for us to enjoy. Paul warned Timothy of this-
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. 1 Timothy 4:1-5
Everything created by God is good. You can’t get too far in Genesis 1 without realizing that. But, what about donuts? They are good. Krispy Kreme is good. The problem with donuts is that we may be tempted to eat too many and we all know that that won’t end well. Eating too many donuts (which are good things) will take a toll on our stomachs: we’ll either experience a stomachache or a “stomach expansion.” But that doesn’t make donuts bad. The problem lies not with the donuts, but with the human being that may consume too many to their detriment. Moderation truly is a wise ideal.
Everything created by God is good. This is what Paul is trying to get across to his friend, ministry partner, and young pastor Timothy. False teachers had crept into the church and were teaching that marriage was bad (even though God said it was good in Genesis!) and certain foods should be avoided. Paul counters by reminding Timothy that all God has made is good. That means donuts are good. The key lies in how we receive them: to be received with thanksgiving.
Everything created by God is good. But some people gauge holiness by what is denied or given up. They pride themselves in what they abstain from. They look down on others when they enjoy God’s good gifts. Paul gauges holiness by what one enjoys as a gift received from God with thanksgiving. Of course that does not mean we can receive with thanksgiving something that we know from Scripture is sinful. We are not called to enjoy sin with thanksgiving. But we can receive the good things that God has created with thanksgiving. Physical exercise is beneficial (1 Timothy 4:7). Wine can be helpful (1 Timothy 5:23). Food, clothing, and money are good things, but they can be abused (1 Timothy 6:6-10).
God is not a cosmic killjoy. In fact, Paul reminds Timothy of this one more time as he closes out his letter:
…God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 1 Timothy 6:17
God gives us many things to enjoy in this life because God is good. Everything that God created is good. And that includes donuts. Just be careful how many you eat.